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Point Zero set in Japan – Seicho Matsumoto

  • Submitted: 8th February 2024

Point Zero  – Seicho Matsumoto

I love translated fiction and I love Japanese writers. There is so much good stuff coming out of Japan and from Bitter Lemon Press in particular that I am in half mind to start learning Japanese. I need to read more of these books.

Visit the locations in Point Zero

Point Zero set in Japan - Seicho Matsumoto


Boarding Pass Information : 

Destination : Japan

Author guide: Seicho Matsumoto

Genre: Translated, literary fiction

Food and drink to accompany: noodles and bao buns




A novel to transport you around Japan

Visit the locations in Point Zero

This is such a rich and compelling story. A couple go on honeymoon and the man disappears. The wife then goes in search of him. However, what was interesting to me is how the couple were brought together and little they knew of each other before marriage.

You can imagine what the wife felt like going in search of a husband she barely knew. Oh and what she finds out about him! The people that do know or might know something seem to be getting bumped off so the wife is in danger in more ways than one. She sets herself the challenge of finding out the truth. I started to bite my nails for her.  I get far too involved in my reading I know.

Despite the drama, it was ( of course) the setting and the travels she goes on that really got me. The couple go on a honeymoon and see some stunning sights such as a huge lake and waterfall that I really want to see now. The landscape described after this becomes very dark and cold, shadowy and dangerous and the locations really did enhance the atmosphere and Noir elements to the book. The snow, the woman standing alone looking for her missing husband – quite the image! It all seemed very cinematic and I could hear eerie music at one point. The film version of this was playing in my head as I read.

Visit the locations in Point Zero

This book had so many good ingredients – not just the honeymoon mystery but a look into how men and women act in Japanese society and how they are expected to act. What we do when we lie, what we do when we discover a lie all got wonderfully woven into a rich tapestry that became Point Zero. There were many things which made me think and want to look a bit more into Japanese society.

Weird that I now want to go to Japan to the places where a man went to just before he went missing and where his wife went to looking for him. Still, I would take this book and read it again as I’m sure I have missed other nuances contained within. A most excellent translation though – doesn’t read like one. There are a few repetitions but I understand this was first written in Japanese as a serial story? Never mind that – get your teeth into this one!

Bitter Lemon – thank you.

Visit the locations in Point Zero


Postcard details:  Access The BookTrail’s Map of Locations and travel guide here

More books set in Japan


BookTrail Boarding Pass:  Point Zero

The author died in 1992

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